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Brazil’s four largest mobile operators all acquired 4G spectrum in auctions that ended yesterday, netting BRL2.72 billion (US$1.3 billion) in total for the government.

Telefonica’s Vivo submitted the highest winning bid (BRL1.05 billion), followed by America Movil’s Claro (BRL844.5 million), TIM Brasil (BRL375 million) and Oi (BRL345 million), reports Bloomberg. Spectrum in the 2.5GHz and 450MHz bands were up for grabs, suitable for urban and rural coverage respectively.

João Rezende, president of Brazilian regulator Anatel (English), said the results exceeded expectations, noting that Telefonica’s highest bid was two-thirds higher than the base price set.

According to a Reuters report, the licenses came with obligations of minimum investments to provide 4G coverage in host cities for the Confederations Cup next year – considered a dress rehearsal for Brazil’s hosting of the football World Cup in 2014. There are also obligations to provide service in rural locations.

Oi SA says it has successfully completed LTE field trials in the 2.5GHz band, which will form the core of its 4G services in the country.

The established Brazilian heavyweights will also face fresh competition in some regional markets from pay-TV service providers Sunrise Telecomunicacoes and Sky Brasil. The former, which was recently acquired by the billionaire entrepreneur George Soros, currently provides pay-TV services in parts of Sao Paulo. Sky Brasil, a subsidiary of California-based DirecTV (DTV), purchased regional spectrum covering Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The two pay-TV providers have acquired spectrum suitable for fixed-wireless broadband services rather than for full-mobility usage.

Brazil is a key market for DirecTV with the South American nation’s rising household income and an increased standard of living creating demand for pay-TV. Sky Brasil utilises TD-LTE and promises to deliver consumers high speed broadband access to the internet.

Nokia Siemens Networks provided the TD-LTE radio gear for customers in Brasília. Nokia’s Flexi Multiradio basestation is compact and weighs only 20% of a conventional cabinet base station and its power consumption is up to 70% lower. SKY Brasil’s TD-LTE network launched last December in Brasilia and uses Sequans chips in the CPE.

Nokia has demoed 1 Gbps TD-LTE using three, 20 MHz carriers. With 4×4 MIMO, a 40 MHz chunk of spectrum may soon provide both pay tv and broadband.

Delivering pay-tv over the 2.5 GHz band would be an interesting development.

In the United States, AT&T might partner with Clear or Dish for 40 MHz of spectrum.

Dish infrastructure in the United States will take 3-4 years to build out. AT&T is desperate for spectrum and may be willing to pay a premium for Dish’s 40 MHz in the 2.1 GHz (MSS) band. But a T-Mobile/Dish partnership could lower costs and make more sense. Dish could use T-Mobile’s AWS (1.7/2.1 GHz) infrastructure.

It’s already built.

If Dish goes with T-Mobile, then AT&T might be forced to purchase 40 MHz of Clear spectrum. The advantage — Clear’s LTE-A will be ready to go next year and could deliver iPhone 5 LTE connectivity as well as streaming video AppleTV using off the shelf chips. AT&T might save $5-10 billion and improve time to market. But CEO Stevenson seems unlikely to let AT&T become an MVNO.

AT&T’s hubris could be its own worst enemy.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Huawei LTE 4×4: Goes to 250 Mbps, Carlos Slim Bets Big on IPTV & Cellular, China Mobile + Apple: Getting Closer?, Clearwire and China Mobile Announce TD-LTE Testing Plan, Sprint’s Network Vision Detailed, Clearwire Chooses LTE Advanced, China Mobile + Clearwire + Apple?, Dish LTE-Advanced Called “Ollo”

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